By EDRi

On 4 July, the European Parliament has rejected ACTA with an overwhelming majority (478 against, 39 in favour, 165 abstentions).

If you want to see who voted what you can either have a look here on Votewatch or all the details per groups and countries on here. Our first reaction to the vote is here.

Thanks to all the activists and protesters. Thanks to all those of you who contacted the MEPs. Thanks to all MEPs who voted against the Agreement.

ACTA is not the end. ACTA is the beginning.

For historical reasons, we have archived our campaign below:

what and whenWhat?

On 21 June, the European Parliament’s lead committee INTA voted against the pro-ACTA amendments and in favour of a rejection by all MEPs.

If however the Agreement were to be adopted during the Plenary session in July, this capitulation would undermine fundamental rights in Europe, would cement our failed intellectual property legislation for years to come and profoundly damage the Parliament as an independent and democratic institution capable of acting as a genuine counterweight to the Council (the Member States) and the European Commission.

When?

The whole Parliament will discuss the Agreement on 3 July, 15h and hold its final vote during its plenary session on 4 July, 12h.

who is whoWho is Who?

The ALDE, Greens, GUE/NGL and S&D groups have already taken a clear position against the Agreement. We should focus on EPP and ECR members of the EU Parliament rather than alienating our friends:

*You can browse all Members of the European People’s Party here on Memopol.

*You can browse all Members of the European Conservatives and Reformists here on Memopol.

*You can use the Pi Phone to call your Members of the European Parliament directly, free of charge!

*You can also search your MEPs by Country on the European Parliament’s website.

who is whoWhat Can I Do?

  1. Contact Members of the European Parliament
  2. a) Send an Email, a fax or a letter
    b) Phone calls

phoneContact Members of the European Parliament

a) Letters/E-Mails/Faxes to MEPs

Parliamentarians can be e-mailed at firstname.surname@europarl.europa.eu,
faxed at +32 2 284 9xxx
and written to at European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, B-1047 Brussels, Belgium.

You can follow this template, but please personalise:

How-to counter the remaining arguments in favour of ACTA

Some of the discussions and the amendments tabled in the INTA committee regarding ACTA appear to have been based on false assumptions:

Assumption 1: The Commission can give binding assurances regarding how ACTA is to be implemented

This is not correct for the following reasons:

a. Any assurances that the Commission would give regarding its own implementation of ACTA would not be legally binding and would therefore not resolve the problems of lack of clarity of the Agreement.

b. Many of the provisions of ACTA are optional and to be implemented by individual states. The Commission is not in a position to make binding undertakings about how optional measures may or may not be implemented by Member States.

c. Article 27.3 requires states to encourage private companies to enforce intellectual property law – the Commission does not have any direct jurisdiction over these companies, particularly if they are from outside the European Union and not directly infringing European law. Google is already enforcing US law in the European Union, such as the US Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA).

Assumption 2: ACTA is only about “commercial scale infringements”

Only the (unclear) criminal sanctions provisions in ACTA cover commercial scale infringements. Provisions such as those in Article 27.3 (enforcement by private companies) mean that there is no limitation to large scale infringements.

Assumption 3: What was legal remains legal

When private companies are encouraged to police the Internet, as required by ACTA, it is up to those companies to decide what is legal or not. When Google removes European sites from its search results on the basis of accusations of breaking US law there is no due process of law, no presumption of innocence, no protection of the freedom to do business and there is no weight whatsoever given to the legality of the European site under European law. There are many examples already of the legal certainty of European citizens and companies being undermined by vigilante actions of US companies.

Assumption 4: Due process and privacy are guaranteed by ACTA

Due process is not mentioned once in the entire ACTA text. Apart from personal data processing by states, there are no binding safeguards on privacy in ACTA. Fundamental rights are not mentioned once in ACTA, the text merely makes reference to preserving ill defined “fundamental principles”.

ACTA pushes Internet providers to carry out surveillance of their networks and disclose the personal information of alleged infringers to rightsholders. It would therefore place the regulation of free speech in the hands of private companies.

Since the wording of the Agreement is so vague, it can also be easily interpreted in ways which
would criminalise large numbers of citizens for trivial offences.

phoneb) Phone calls

You can phone your MEPs…but remember to always stay
polite and calm. This is just an example of phone call, to give you an idea.
It is not intended to be reused as such. Spontaneity is always better:

YOU: “Hello, I would like to talk to Ms/Mr MEP, please.
Assistant: Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?”
YOU: My name is…, I’m calling from …, and I’m very concerned by the upcoming vote on the ACTA agreement.
Assistant: I see. We had calls before. I have no time.
YOU: But it is very important! The secret negotiations of the Agreement circumvent
the democratic process and the European Parliament needs to show its commitment to the protection of EU citizens.
Assistant: Don’t worry. The Agreement will not change anything in Europe.
YOU: (Use whichever argument of your own or an argument below).
For example: ACTA promotes the policing and even punishment of alleged infringements outside normal judicial frameworks!
Assistant: “I’ll tell Mrs/Mr MEP.”
YOU: “Thank you very much for listening to me. I can send you some information per email (see links below) and I’ll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought.
Have a good day.”

Contact the Members of the INTA Committee

phoneArguments & Background Info

You can find detailed arguments regarding the effects of ACTA on fundamental rights, innovation and competition and on the EU’s international relations, its safeguards and criminal sanctions here.

To counter the arguments used by pro-ACTA faction in the Parliament, click here.

Background Information

You can find detailed arguments in our booklet on ACTA (pdf)
and in our five fact sheets which briefly summarise the most important issues.
European Parliament Study
Reporters Without Borders: Analysis on ACTA and the Access to Medicines
FFII: Analysis on ACTA
La Quadrature du Net: Comprehensive Dossier on ACTA

Pictures by Muzungu, CC-by 2.0